On the surface, the Knicks lost Game 3 of their second-round series with the Indiana Pacers on the offensive end.
They shot 35.2 percent from the field, made just 3 of 11 shots from 3-point range and finished the game with only 10 offensive rebounds, leading to 10 second-chance points.
For center Tyson Chandler it was in issue of protocol. The opportunities were there, but the Knicks find themselves trailing 2-1 because they didn't follow the game plan.
"I watched the tape myself and there's open looks," Chandler said at Sunday's practice, as quoted by Newsday's Al Iannazzone. "We have to be willing passers. You have to sacrifice yourself sometimes for the betterment of the team, for the betterment of your teammates. So when you drive in the paint, you draw, you kick it. We need to do a better job of allowing the game to dictate who takes the shots and not the individuals."
Coach Mike Woodson agreed, insisting that the Knicks need to play on the offensive end as they had played on the defensive end.
"We get it in spurts," Woodson said, as quoted by Steve Popper of The Bergen Record. "We're just not getting it consistently enough. In a playoff series, when teams start locking in, you cannot play on one side of the floor. [Saturday] night we went back to that again."
But Woodson isn't being totally honest.
It's easy to look at the Pacers' 35-percent mark from the field in Game 3 and say, "at least the Knicks played defense."
They didn't play defense on Saturday night. The Pacers missed open shots, many of them 3-pointers (they attempted 33 shots from deep). The truth of the matter is, if the Pacers were as accurate as they usually are, the Knicks would have lost by a lot more than 82-71.
Indiana wouldn't have been able to overcome such a poor shooting effort had it not been for Roy Hibbert's 24 points or his eight offensive rebounds. The Pacers finished with 18 offensive boards for the game, which led to a total of 20 second-chance points.
Newsday's Greg Logan:
According to Chandler, the touchy topic of help defense was addressed Sunday. He explained it this way: "The thing is we're supposed to double. If we don't, the defense is vulnerable.
"If it's a one-on-one situation, you could deny the front and do all kinds of things. It's supposed to be us trapping to generate a faster pace. If we're not trapping, then we're in a tough spot.''
Chandler ultimately finished with just nine points and five rebounds in 30 minutes of action.
"It's definitely frustrating," Chandler said, as quoted by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. "It's frustrating to have someone go at you on one end and not have the opportunity to go back at him. But that being said, their offense is run through him and that can be a positive for us if we play it correctly. Last night, we didn't play it correctly and because of it we were exposed."
In other Knicks news:
• As I wrote on Sunday, Amar'e Stoudemire was one of the few bright spots for the Knicks on Saturday: "But perhaps the best sign was that Amar'e Stoudemire looked close to normal in his return from a right-knee debridement. In nine minutes of action, Stoudemire was 3 of 8 from the field—including a 3-pointer that beat the third buzzer of the evening—to finish with seven points and two rebounds... His other two buckets came at the hoop—no small feat against Roy Hibbert and the Pacers' defense—but the best thing about Stoudemire's performance was that he didn't seem to be in any pain."
• The New York Post's Mark Hale wrote that Stoudemire was fine on Sunday: "'I feel good,' he said yesterday. 'The minutes I played were only nine minutes, but the process before that — I was in shootaround, we're going hard in shootaround and then the pregame of training — [was] equivalent to about an hour's worth of work. Hard intensity work. I feel good today.'"
• The Daily News' Mitch Lawrence believes Carmelo Anthony needs to take the reins of the Knicks' offense: "Anthony has to know that if the Knicks are going down in this round to a good Pacers team, but nowhere near a great team, he has got to go down shooting. He didn't lead the league in scoring and place third in the MVP balloting, his best finish in his NBA career, because he was John Stockton passing the ball or because he did a bang-up job deferring to his teammates."
• Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal wrote that the Knicks need to get back to shooting 3-pointers: "On Sunday, the team ran a postmortem on its 82-71 Game 3 loss here to the Pacers on Saturday. Without question, the most striking aspect of the defeat—which dropped the Knicks in a 2-1 series hole—was the three-point shooting. They went a quiet 3-for-11 from behind the arc, season lows in both categories for a team that took almost 29 threes a game during the year... It wasn't a coincidence: The Pacers led the league in defending the three-point line and made a point of trying to limit such opportunities."
• The Post's Steve Serby wrote that the Knicks need to wake up: "They need to wake up, and they need to wake up now, and stop looking like some hastily assembled intramural team that assuredly makes Willis Reed and Clyde Frazier cringe, and Dave DeBusschere roll over in his grave watching Tyson Chandler and the boys turn Roy Hibbert into Wilt Chamberlain... It is on Mike Woodson to wake them up and show us how an elite coach can grab his basketball team and shake it before an offseason of regret and recrimination rages all around."
• The New York Times' Howard Beck explained that the Pacers have robbed the Knicks of their identity: "The Knicks won 54 games this season with smart spacing and ball movement and a hailstorm of 3-pointers. A blistering, balanced offense was their calling card... The Pacers have effectively robbed the Knicks of their identity, lulling them into a plodding pace and foolish one-on-one forays that undermine the Knicks' offense and their esprit de corps."
• The Post's Marc Berman explained that the Knicks 3-point shooters could see more time in Game 4 on Tuesday, but Marcus Camby is still on the outside of the rotation looking in: "Woodson said he may sprinkle in 3-point shooters Chris Copeland and Steve Novak, who surprisingly didn't play Saturday until the final two minutes of garbage time... Woodson became utterly frustrated when asked whether center Marcus Camby would now play because of the Knicks' rebounding woes."
• Bob Kravitz of USA Today thinks it's time for the Pacers to get greedy: "Now it's time for the Pacers to treat Game 4 like it's a Game 7, because if they don't win it, the likelihood is, there will be a Game 7 and it will be back in New York... The Pacers didn't beat the Knicks 82-71 Saturday night as much as they just pounded away at them, wore them down, did all the things they need to do to win this Eastern Conference semifinal series."